On February 8 Northwestern University Athletics announced the news that Milford High School Graduate Nikki Parsley has been named to the USA Field Hockey Junior National Squad’s Under-21 Team. The National Squad held a selection process that began with training camp in July of 2011 in Chula Vista, California. From that group of athletes Parsley and her teammate Maddy Carpenter were named to the team and will now have the opportunity to travel to England to play against international competition.
Graduating from Milford Senior High School in 2010, Nikki began playing the sport of field hockey as a child and has played at the competitive level since 6th grade. During her time at Milford High School Parsley received several honors including first team all-state her junior year and second team all-state her senior year.
Currently a sophomore at Northwestern University Nikki has had a very successful athletic career. In her freshmen season she played in 20 games, scored 8 goals and recorded 5 assists. Parsley scored one goal in the playoffs that year and was named to the Big Ten tournament team. In her second season she earned a first-team All-Big Ten bid, knocking in 10 goals on the season to go with an assist for 21 total points.
“It has been pretty awesome,” commented Nikki when asked about her experiences playing at Northwestern University. “I love my coaches and teammates here. It was not too much of an adjustment for me since I had played against national teams on the [USA Field Hockey] Senior High Performance Team.”
While playing for the Junior National Team in California Parsley gained the experience of playing against the nation’s top 50 athletes in her age group. She was one of the top 16 girls to be chosen from that squad to play for the Junior National team in England. From that team of international players, a squad will be chosen to play in Junior World Cup qualification rounds in Guadalajara, Mexico. If the USA Junior National Squad is successful they will have the opportunity to compete for the World Cup in India.
With prior international experience playing in Chile with the Under-19 Squad, Parsley says that the biggest challenge to playing on the international is to “not underestimate the level of competition you will be facing. You have to respect your opponents but at the same time realize that you are good enough to be playing at that level. There is a lot of mental preparation that goes into playing on the international level.”
The ultimate goal for Nikki is to make the USA Team that will compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the 2016 Olympics. With two years left at Northwestern University she has not forgotten about her collegiate play. Parsley would like to see a Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in the NCAA tournament in her future.